A row has broken out around the Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is accused of being economical with the truth when she arrived in The Netherlands seeking asylum in 1992.
The result has been that she has decided not just to step down from the Dutch parliament, but also to move to the US where she will take up a position in the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank based in Washington.
I confess to having mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I can see why the conservative elements in US politics would want to embrace Hirsi Ali as someone who stands against "islamic facism", and I can see why she might want to leave all the shit she’s been getting in the Netherlands behind. But I can’t help feeling that, if she really is true to her views on women’s and homosexuals’ rights that these will ultimately jar with her new paymasters, and I predict a divorce in the not too distant future.
It’s either that, or she’s just another typical politician, willing to change her views for her own survival. Time will tell.
Update: reactions from various people in Dutch politics. Wiegel’s reaction is a typical smug Dutch pronouncement. I find that sort of attitude irritating beyond belief. He is clearly in the "I’m alright Jack" mode of thinking whilst rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Peter van Ham, however, points in the same direction as my feelings – Hirsi Ali will find strange bedfellows in the AEI.
Update 2: the story is now emerging in the UK press, e.g. The Guardian and The Telegraph. The latter does point out that apparently the fact that Hirsi Ali lied about her background in order to get asylum status "has been common knowledge since September 2002". Still, that’s not going to sav her. Today, the Dutch papers are reporting that the lovely Rita Verdonk, the hard-line Dutch Immigration Minister, is now saying that Hirsi Ali should never have been granted Dutch citizenship in 1997, and therefore it is possible that she will be stripped of her citizenship.